Kittleson Has Successful Busch Debut, Set For ASA Finale Team Hits its Goals in Memphis, Looks Forward To First ASA Win CONCORD, NC (October 26, 2004) -- There's never a second chance to make a first impression according to the old saying....
Kittleson Has Successful Busch Debut, Set For ASA Finale
Team Hits its Goals in Memphis, Looks Forward To First ASA Win
CONCORD, NC (October 26, 2004) -- There's never a second chance to make a first impression according to the old saying. Travis Kittleson made his first Busch Series impression count this past weekend (Oct. 23) at Memphis Motorsports Park. Kittleson posted a solid qualifying run of 31st, stayed out of trouble in the wreck-filled event and took home a 25th-place finish.
That effort meant that the R/T Racing team of Kittleson met most of their goals for the weekend.
The goals are different now as Kittleson prepares for Friday's ASA National Tour finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway (GA).
"This is another big weekend," said Kittleson. "We have got the car ready and I'm mentally ready for the race too. We are coming off a pretty good run in Charlotte (at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Oct. 14) where we finished sixth, so I'm ready for Atlanta. Even though we are using our primary short track car for the speedway races, it is a good car and as long as everything goes ok, I think we'll be in for a solid top-five finish.
"This is the last race of the year. We're going for it this weekend. This could be a 'check'er or wreck'er' type weekend for us. I'm pumped!"
Kittleson has reason to be pumped. He is coming of the successful Busch Series debut that the team had been working toward for several months. The team had three goals; to qualify for the race, to complete the race and to hopefully come home with a top-20 finish. They nearly got all three accomplished.
"It was a great learning experience. It was everything I thought it would be and hoped it would be, minus a little better of a finish," said Kittleson of his Busch Series debut, during the Sam's Town 250 at the ¾-mile Memphis track. "It really reminded me of my first ASA race. Those guys in that series eat the weak. If you don't have your 'A' game, you can tell right away. They come to play and I remember that is how we felt back in our first ASA event. At a place like that, when you get behind it feels like you are in quick sand; the harder you try to get out of it, the worse you are."
Kittleson's debut in his #68 Bob Steele Chevrolet started out strong, with the Kittleson clocking in times among the top-20 during practice. Come qualifying however, Kittleson had an early draw and he knew it would hurt him.
"You don't understand how hard qualifying was. We went out second and then just had to sit and watch as about 50 other cars followed us and we just had to wait to see if we would make the show. Our time matched what we ran in practice, but I think we could have went about two-tenths faster. The car just was off a bit compared to what it was in practice."
Kittleson eventually made the show, clocking in 31st quick of the 54 that took times. As the green flag flew come race day, Kittleson spent little time moving toward the front.
"We got up to 21st at one point and things were looking really good. We came in to pit and went back out and the car wouldn't turn. We made a little mistake with the tires during the pit stop and that hurt us. The car just wasn't handling very good after that. We eventually came back in and got the problem fixed and the car was still pretty good."
Unfortunately, Kittleson got trapped down a lap and just seemed to miss the "lucky dog" pass each time the caution came out.
''In the first 15 to 20 laps, we got a good rhythm going. We eventually got as high as 16th at one point, which is was great, because there are 15-20 high quality Busch teams out there right now, so we were right up there with them.
"All-in-all, we got two of our three goal accomplished and I guess that isn't too bad. I think we had a good 15th place or better car for sure. We lost momentum for sure when we made that mistake in the pits that got us a lap down and we just couldn't make that lap back up."
Kittleson finished 25th, just one lap down.
"It was a pretty cool weekend. Everyone was just super nice and super friendly. The organization of NASCAR is unreal. They are first-class and highly organized. The officials treat you good and people are there to help out. It would be nice to make a home here."
Kittleson will now focus on the ASA season finale. The ASA National Tour ends the season with World Financial Group 150 October 29th following NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race is set for 9pm Friday evening.